A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Baseball Statistics

It is a glorious week to be a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies! Through a series of planet alignments, wins, losses, and the entire New York Mets squad forgetting how to play the game, the Phillies have won the Eastern Division title for the National League. This will be the first time that the team will be in post season play since 1993. Phillies fans are treating this time period like it’s been a long drought, but, to be honest, fans of this franchise have endured longer periods of no post season in the club’s history.

The win is a result of a lot of hard work for the team, but we also must acknowledge the sudden reversal of fortune suffered by the New York Mets during the last three weeks of the season. The Mets had held the division lead since May; not even the Atlanta Braves, who have won the division for what seems like the last hundred years, could knock them out of the top spot. The Mets were seven games ahead of the Phillies just a few weeks ago before they lost eleven games in a row and saw their lead slowly slip away. The Mets now have the distinction of having the worst season ending meltdown in major league history.

Keeping this in mind, we should take a moment and express our sympathies to the New York Mets and their fans. Sniff...okay, that’s enough. We’d like to empathize some more, but we’re so giddy today about the Phillies achievement that we can’t keep a straight face.

It’s not like it’s totally our fault that the Mets lost all of those games. True, we did at one point consider kidnapping the entire New York team and replacing them with members of the 1964 Phillies team (who held the old Major League Baseball meltdown record), but the logistics of such a move were a nightmare. Besides, there were moral issues and how could we explain it to the Baseball Commissioner if we got caught. Instead, we just let nature take its course, and we have been rewarded with the division title.

Still, this new record given to the Mets makes me wonder about the people who figured this out. How could they know that the loss of the division by a team that held the lead for months would be unprecedented? They are the statisticians, those noble mathematics majors who (I am convinced) live beneath the floorboards of the Baseball Commissioner's office. They are the ones that spend the season dreaming up new ways to make the game of baseball more interesting for the fans.

For example, we keep statistics on which players lead the league in runs, triples, doubles, and singles. Ah, but do we know how many of those players had mothers who baked blueberry cobbler regularly? The statisticians will (most likely by this time) have the exact number ready for our consumption next season.

Or how about the home run leaders who were inspired and/or traumatized by the movie “The Babe Ruth Story.” If you were a baseball player, you were inspired, but if you were a movie fan, you were traumatized. (Even Babe Ruth walked out on “The Babe Ruth Story”!) The statisticians probably have crunched the numbers on this category too.

Baseball has got to be the most over-statistically-analyzed game in all of sports. However, the wonders of baseball statistics don’t really matter in the end. What matters is that at the end of the season there will be a champion and an overall satisfaction that the players gave their all for the fans. Better luck next year, Mets.



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